Vera Kaunath

Contact

 

University of Potsdam / Animal Ecology
Maulbeerallee 1
Room 1.01
14469 Potsdam

Research Interests

I am an ecologist, a beetle and bumblebee lover and very passionate about insect conservation. I am particular interested in the effect of human introduced rapid changes on insect population and diversity. Currently, we are facing a crucial insect decline and, in my research, I am investigating the political implementation and the effectiveness of compensation measurements (e.g. flower strips, set-asides) which shall create suitable habitats for insect population in agroecosystems. How can we create high-quality habitats for insects which persist permanently? How can we combine the various needs of diverse insect taxa into measurements?

Furthermore, I am very interested in the effect of artificial light at night (ALAN) on the behaviour of insects, such as light attraction and potentially evolutionary long-term consequences - light pollution is still a problem on the rise.

Last, but not least, I want to raise awareness about the fascinating diversity of insects, to spread my love for “the little ones that run the world” and highlight with my research how indispensable and valuable insects are for all of us!

In my PhD I am investigating the effectiveness of sown wild flower strips (FS) on insect diversity in German agriculture and will compare the FS to innovative design of a rolling wildflower block (RWB). Flower strips have been recently criticized to function as an ecological trap, thus first attract insects without permanent benefits for their populations, due to short lifetime of FS, their narrow shape and spill-over effects of pesticides. During my PhD, the innovative design of the RWB will be firstly implemented in which the RWB exist in a block shape and also provides different successional stages to increase attractiveness for various insect species (more: Linde-Wildflower experiment). I will monitor ground-dwelling insects and after the 2nd year, will investigate the hibernation success of specific insect taxa in the two different structural elements. This project is a pilot study for potential, new compensation measurement. Moreover, it expands the knowledge of the effectiveness of already established structures and enables us to understand more about the ecological needs of insect taxa which is essential for creating source habitats in agricultural landscapes.

Contact

 

University of Potsdam / Animal Ecology
Maulbeerallee 1
Room 1.01
14469 Potsdam

Websites

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Vera-Kaunath

https://zwillenberg-tietz-stiftung.de/en/linde-wildflower-experiment/

Academic career

Since 2022      PhD, University of Potsdam, Animal Ecology

2021 – 2022    Research assistant (Hi-Wi), Animal Ecology, Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam

2018 - 2021     Master´s degree in Ecology and Biodiversity, University of Greifswald

2019/2020       Exchange year at Lund University (Sweden), Conservation Biology

2018/2019       Field assistant at the Technische Universität München (TUM), Biodiversity Exploratories

2015 - 2018     Bachelor´s degree in Biology, Freie University Berlin

Publications

Kaunath V and Eccard J A,  2022. Light attraction in carabid beetles: Comparison among animals from the inner city and a Dark Sky Reserve. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, p.98. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2022.751288